Postgraduate taught 

Primary Health Care MSc/PgDip/PgCert: Online distance learning

Understanding Evidence for the Real World: Critical Appraisal for Healthcare MED5437

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: Health and Wellbeing
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Summer
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No
  • Taught Wholly by Distance Learning: Yes

Short Description

Understanding and appraising the quality of health care research evidence is a necessary skill for all health care professionals and those in training. This course will equip students with the necessary skills to find, appraise and understand a range of different study designs common in the health care research literature, to better appraise numerical data presented in the media, social media and the internet and to better discuss concepts such as risk with patients and the public. 


This course is made up of lectures, seminars and tutorials which take place over the summer semester.

Excluded Courses





Critical appraisal of a set research paper (50%), 2000 words.

Coursework tasks including Press Release, 5-7 slides (30%) and PICO task (20%), 500 words.

Course Aims

To ensure students can access healthcare literature appropriately; read and appraise that literature critically; understand the key concepts underpinning different study designs; critically appraise the study design results presented in papers; and critically consider the application of those results to their current practice

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

1. Design pragmatic approaches to search the healthcare literature for papers appropriate to their need.

2. Critically evaluate the key concepts underpinning different quantitative and qualitative study designs.

3. Identify and critique different forms of bias inherent in study designs.

4. Critically appraise different types of healthcare research evidence.

5. Critique the presentation of data within healthcare research papers.

6. Critically apply the results of papers to their own healthcare or research setting.

7. Compare and contrast how data are presented in other forums, such as the media and the Internet.

8. Critically examine and apply approaches to discussing healthcare research evidence with patients and public.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.